What is Sustainable Fashion?
Sustainability in the fashion industry is one of the greatest challenges our world is facing today. Not only does it affect human rights, but it is a key contributor to climate change falling in the number two slot behind oil and agriculture. If this sounds implausible, think about how much clothing you have owned in your life. Now imagine more than 7 billion people with the same amount. Every piece of clothing has an impact, from chemical usage, to water, emissions, and energy, to ethical wages and treatment of those making them (i.e. garment workers). Sustainability in the fashion industry means finding ways to reduce this impact from design, through wear, to the end of a garment’s life. Ultimately, WE will only be sustainable if we can create and re-create fashion through renewable materials, recyclable garments and wages that enable workers to thrive.
Why Should Clothing be Ethically Made?
This challenge can seem insurmountable, but it is conquerable. Most of the world's garments are made in Asia, in countries that have a high risk of forced labor including Cambodia, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. These laborers, vulnerable for income for their families leaves them susceptible to unethical treatment and unfair labor standards. Fair-wage, ethical jobs in garment factories can be hugely beneficial to poor workers and their families, helping them to gain skills, maintain good nutrition and send their children to school. Working with manufacturers that treat their workers with dignity is not too much to ask. It involves building a code of conduct and visiting the factories in-person to check up on them, or for larger brands, working with firms that audit supply chains to expose the risk of exploitation. Large corporate representatives excuses that workers are paid a "fair wage in their country" does not equate with ethical labor standards, as many countries can keep the minimum wage as low as 0.30 cents a day to attract big business contracts. Sweatshops do not have to be the norm in fashion, as brands and consumers we have the power to demand ethical treatment of workers.
Why Should Clothing be Eco-Friendly?
The environmental consequences of fast fashion are too important to go unnoticed. Take a simple material that we all wear – cotton. It’s in our shirts, our sheets – practically everything that touches our skin. But it’s actually one of the thirstiest crops in the world. According to the World Wildlife Fund, it can take more than 20,000 litres of water just to produce a pair of jeans and a single T-shirt.
With rapidly rising demand for fashion, cotton can’t keep up, so as of 2007, polyester overtook it as the world’s dominant fibre. Polyester is literally plastic and pollutes our airways and waterways.
As consumers buy more and more fast fashion at extremely low costs, the attachment to it is smaller. The feel good decision of donating it is actually causing more and more pollutants and environmental consequences as 97% of clothes donated go unsold and end up in landfills emitting toxic chemicals into our soil, water systems, and air.
We, at North Authentic, believe that as Maya Angelou so graciously said, "When you know better, you do better." It’s our generation’s thirst for knowledge that can lead the change. The awareness of how sustainability can affect our future and willingness to head on the challenge can generate solutions and major change. According to the Danish Fashion Institute, up to 80% of a garment’s environmental impact is defined by choices made in the design process. By choosing eco-friendly materials, water-saving dyes and plastic-free packaging we can significantly lower the impact of a piece of clothing.
North uses only eco-friendly, recycled packaging for retail bags and shipments. We know that every choice we make, not only how the products are made, even down to how we deliver our amazing products to you can be mindful.